My MGM 2008 - By MGM Arts Coordinator Clare Moloney

Clare Moloney | 16 May 2008
shows a painting in shades of red and crimson which has rectangular forms outlined upon it.

Jürgen Partenheimer, Carmen, 2006, Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist

Clare Moloney, MGM Arts Programme Co-ordinator, is sampling some of the art events and exhibitions happening this May. This week, Clare looks at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery.

As part of Museums and Galleries Month 2008, Ikon Gallery is teaming up with the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA), to put on a free ArtBus, taking visitors on a ‘late night’ tour of the three art venues on May 28.

Visitors can enjoy a range of permanent and special exhibitions at the Barber and the RBSA and be amongst the first to see a new solo show from Cinthia Marcelle and the first UK exhibition from Swiss artists Andres Lutz and Anders Guggisberg at Ikon.

It's the last few days of the current shows at Ikon – Discontinuity, Paradox and Precision by Jürgen Partenheimer; and Lands End from Ruth Claxton, both of which close on Sunday May 18. I strongly recommend you catch these if you can. Both exhibitions are concerned with place and space, and our complex negotiation of it.

Partenheimer’s show includes some beautifully detailed abstract works, which convey strong emotions given the use of different media – ice-cream coloured shades interrupted with daubs of bold colour or thick smudgy pencil lines.

The show also includes Partenheimer’s recent collaboration with composer Kevin Volans - The Partenheimer Project. Inspired by the language of visual art, Volans has created three separate compositions which articulate the process of a viewer comprehending a piece of abstract art.

Like the paintings, the music was sparse yet interspersed with some brief bombastic moments. The hanging and installation of the show also reflects this – there is plenty of space to move between the art works and reflect on what we are seeing.

shows a small figurine wearing a red crinoline dress viewed on a circular base

Ruth Claxton, Lands End, 2008 (detail). Courtesy of the artist

On the other hand, for Lands End, Ruth Claxton has created a vast topography and wonderland of stands, hoops and mirrors. Claxton has populated this landscape with ornamental figurines – the type of which I remember seeing proudly perched on my parents' and grandparents' mantelpiece.

Yet these familiar objects are made strange through a variety of spectacular appendages. These appendages, made up of brightly coloured flowers, buttons, baubles and strips of plasticine, both dazzle and blind the figures; they give the impression they are more immersed inside some private and interior activity, than they are with their immediate material surroundings.

Claxton is fascinated with our relationship with technology and our increasingly mediated world. If you miss this show at the Ikon, you can still see some of Claxton’s work at the Barber Institute, where she produced a series of postcard pieces; reproductions of works in the Barber collection where she has intervened and modified their imagery further. Why not take a look via the free ArtBus on May 28?

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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